Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is scheduled to meet with opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, her predecessor, to discuss possible solutions to the decade-old insurgency in Thailand’s deep South.
Gen Prayuth said he will attend the meeting in his capacity as internal security deputy director, adding that the military, police and civil servants alike have been responsible for peace-keeping in the South all along but there have many changes at the policy level.
“That’s why explanations are necessary for mutual understanding,” he said.
The army chief described as a “good sign,” and not a setup, the mass surrender of southern insurgents last week, insisting that it is impossible to force wrongdoers to surrender against their will.
“Every government has taken the same path. Talks (with insurgents) have been made (making contact) through their core persons,” he said.
Gen Prayuth said the enforcement of Article 21 of the Internal Security Act will be presented to the meeting for tomorrow’s discussion.
He added that Article 21 was created by the previous (Abhisit) government, and that the Internal Security Act has been in force since 2008. The Democrat Party understands the issue well.
According to Article 21 of the Internal Security Act, a wrongdoer who innocuously violates the law and gives up to authorities may be allowed to undergo training for a maximum of six months. After the training under conditions set by the court, criminal charges against him may be waived.
He called on the media to be more careful in presenting news on the southern unrest.
Gen Prayuth inspected a simulated training for soldiers of the 31st Infantry Unit in Lopburi province on Monday. He said the soldiers will be dispatched to the South next month for peace-keeping missions.